Hotch stood in front of the mirror in his office trying to make his tie sit right, but his unsteady hands were making it very difficult. He felt uncomfortable in his black suit, acutely aware that this was the first time he had worn it since his wife's funeral. He looked around when there was a knock at the door. He tried to say 'come in' but the words caught in his throat. Morgan stuck his head around the door.
"You ready to go, Hotch?" He nodded, vaguely noting how strange it was to see Morgan in a black suit. "Hotch?" Morgan asked, frowning.
"Are you okay?" Hotch didn't answer straight away. He took one look at his own pale reflection, the dark circles under his eyes, his badly tied tie and realised that he wasn't okay.
"It's all my fault, Morgan," he choked.
"No, Hotch, don't do that to yourself. You couldn't have known how any of this was going to work out. None of us could."
"I could have prevented this, I emshould/em have prevented this. If I'd just been a better profiler... "
"Come on, Hotch, that's stupid," Morgan said, cutting him off. "You're the best profiler out the lot of us."
"I could've been better." Morgan suddenly looked a little irritated.
"We could all be better, Hotch," he said, sharply. "We all have cases that will haunt us for the rest of our lives, but we deal with it, and we keep working our asses off to make sure we don't make the same mistake twice. Since when were you the self-pitying type?" Hotch said nothing, he just stared at Morgan, a little taken aback. "Come on, Hotch, we've got a funeral to get to."
As he walked out of his office and saw his colleagues, he had to fight the urge to go back into his office and stay there. He could barely look them in the eye, ashamed to have let them down.
Garcia stood holding Morgan's hand while Reid was staring blankly at the wall. JJ and Rossi were talking quietly to each other, but the room felt empty without Prentiss. He took a shaky breath and walked down the few steps to join his team.
"Ready?" he asked, trying to keep his voice steady. Morgan had been right, he wasn't usually the type to wallow in self-pity. He owed it to his team to keep it together, even though he was being eaten alive by guilt. Everyone nodded except Reid who still hadn't moved.
"Reid?" JJ asked.
"I miss Emily," was all he said.
"We all do," JJ said, putting a hand on Reid's shoulder.
"You guys, I'm touched." They all looked around to see Pretiss standing in the BAU doorway. No one spoke, but Hotch crossed the room in a few strides and pulled her in to his arms. They stood like that for a long time and for the first time, Hotch realised that he didn't care who was watching.
"What are you doing here?" he asked finally.
"I discharged myself from hospital."
"Why?" Hotch asked.
"Because I knew you would be beating yourself up about Olivia's death and I wanted to be here for you." Hotch kissed the top of her head and held her a bit tighter.
"You shouldn't have left hospital."
"Hotch, I'm fine," she said determinedly.
"A week ago you died in my arms. You can't be fine."
"Oh please," she scoffed. "I was only dead for like three minutes, and besides, it's not even the first time I've died." She smiled at him, but Hotch's expression didn't change.
"Okay, that's not funny," she said. "But seriously Hotch, I'm okay. I want to be here with you." For the first time since arriving she took her eyes off Hotch and looked to the rest of the team. "I wanted to be here with all of you."
"Morgan was the next to pull her in to a hug. Hotch's stomach twisted as he remembered Morgan's face when he burst through his front door and saw Prentiss lying limp in his arms. He had taken one look at the expression on Hotch's face before punching a hole in the wall, almost breaking his hand, and he still had the bandage on to prove it. But his rage had only lasted a second, and he fell to his knees as the paramedics rushed in to the room.
"Hotch kept playing the night over and over in his head, wondering what he could have done differently. Could he have talked the Unsub down? Could he have prevented Prentiss being shot? Could he have saved Olivia's life?
But there was no time to brood now; he had to go and pay his respects to the young intern who had lost her life because her own team had suspected her of murder. It was never going to be a pleasant day, but he felt stronger for having Emily by his side again.